Album no. 109/1001
The Incredible String Band were a group of long-haired folk from Scotland, who took a fancy to exotic instruments and mythology. So if that’s your jams, you’re in for a treat.
This album somehow peaked at number 5 in the UK, and was nominated for a Grammy. It may also be a shining example of more not always being more – with more than 10 ‘weird’ instruments making an appearance throughout the 50 minute album.
Have you listened to this album before?
CL: No. The album cover frightens me. Are they a cult? Are those children in the band too?
CL: Oh dear. It’s another weirdo medieval thing. I for one have had my fill of this nonsense – first with Tim Buckley, then again with Donovan – when is this fad going to end? It honestly sounds like a small children’s music class, where everybody gets an instrument and just has a go.
NK: This is really weird.
CL: There’s a 13 minute song called ‘The Very Cellular Song’ where nobody can sing in tune. That’s a high point.
NK: The ‘standout’ track for me is ‘Minotaur’s Song’, which is off the bloody chain. It reminds me of Monty Python doing singing ‘I’m a lumberjack and I’m ok’, only without any hint of humour. ‘I’m the orrrrrriginal, discrrrrrrrrrriminating buffalo man’ is a hell of a lyric. He rolls his Rs with such relish, and the everyone sings it back to him like it’s a bloody christmas carol.
CL: Maybe it is?
NK: As far as I can tell that song is about how difficult it is being a minotaur because his horns make it difficult to dream. Also there are a couple of really bad bull puns. This song stood out for sure, but not in a good way.
When would be the best time to listen to this?
CL: If anyone is ever having a medieval-themed wedding or party, add this to your playlist. But don’t invite me.
NK: The lyrics on this are bonkers. I have clearly underestimated the weirdo old folk magyk hedge-witch don’t cross running water influences in 1960s music. I’m not sure I care for it. Listen to this if your eyes light up when you hear the phrases ‘pre-tolkien fantasy’ and ‘it’s really more about the vibe of the thing’.
Why has this album been included on the list?
CL: WHO CARES. WHO HONESTLY CARES. This was so awful, I’ve lost all faith in anything that purports to call itself ‘folk’ music.
NK: The lyrics are pretty loopy? You know what I couldn’t believe, this album stayed in the UK charts for 21 weeks, and got up to number 5. It was a major commercial success. 1968 was cooked.
Will you be listening again?
CL: Oh no way.
NK: Nah mate.
Listen to The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter on Spotify or buy it in iTunes.